Climate Change

Phony Fact-Checking on Forest Fires

Climate activists call a video "misleading" not because it's factually inaccurate, but because it doesn't say what they want it to.

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Recently, I released a video that called California's fires "government fueled."

A few days later, Facebook inserted a warning on my video: "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead."

Some of my viewers now feel betrayed. One wrote: "Shameful, John… what happened to you!!? Your reporting was always fair… (but) your… fires story was so… unfair, even Facebook tagged it."

A "fact-check" from Facebook carries weight. 

Worse, Facebook says that because my video is labeled misleading, it will show my content to fewer people.

This kills me. My news model counts on social media companies showing people my videos. 

I confronted the fact-checkers. That's the topic of my newest video.

Facebook's "fact-check" links to a page from a group called Climate Feedback that claims it sorts "fact from fiction" about climate change.

They post this complaint about my video: "Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change." They call that claim "misleading."

It is misleading. 

But I never said that! In my video, I acknowledged: "Climate change has made things worse. California has warmed 3 degrees over 50 years."

I don't know where Climate Feedback got their quote. Made it up? Quoted someone else?

Facebook lets activists restrict my videos based on something I never said.

Now, Facebook is a private company that can censor anything it wants. I understand the pressure they feel. All kinds of people demand that Facebook ban posts they don't like. 

There's no way Facebook can police everything. The site carries billions of posts.

I wish they'd just let the information flow. People will gradually learn to sort truth from lies.

But to please politicians, Facebook now lets other people censor their content. Mark Zuckerberg told Congress, "We work with a set of independent fact-checkers."

That's how Climate Feedback got its power. Facebook made it a fact-checker.

Facebook says I can appeal its throttling of my video, but my appeal must go to Climate Feedback, possibly the very activists who'd made up quotes from me.

I tried to appeal. I emailed Nikki Forrester, Climate Feedback's editor. She didn't respond. But two of the three scientists listed as reviewers agreed to interviews.

The first was Stefan Doerr of Swansea University. 

When I asked why he smeared me based on something I never said, he replied, "I've never commented on your article." 

That was a shock. He hadn't seen my video.

I referred him to the Climate Feedback webpage that Facebook cited when labeling my video "misleading." The page lists him as a "reviewer."

"If this is implying that we have reviewed the video," said Doerr, "then this is clearly wrong. There's something wrong with the system."

There sure is.

Doerr guessed that my video was flagged because I'd interviewed environmentalist Michael Shellenberger. 

His new book, Climate Apocalypse, criticizes environmental alarmism. Climate Feedback says Shellenberger makes "overly simplistic argumentation about climate change."

Their other reviewer was Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at The Breakthrough Institute. He hadn't seen my video either. "I certainly did not write a Climate Feedback piece reviewing your segment."

So, I sent him the video. After he watched it, I asked, "Is (misleading) a fair label?"

"I don't necessarily think so," he replied. "While there are plenty of debates around how much to emphasize fire management vs. climate change, your piece clearly discussed that both were at fault."

After those confrontations, Climate Feedback's editor finally responded to our emails. She gave us an address where we could file a complaint.

We did. 

They wrote back, "after reviewing the video" (at least they now watched it), they stand by their smear because the "video misleads viewers by oversimplifying the drivers of wildfires." And both scientists I interviewed wrote to say, yes, we agree, the video downplays the role of climate change.

That's what this censorship is about. In my video, Shellenberger dares say, "A small change in temperature is not the difference between normalcy and catastrophe." Climate Feedback doesn't want people to hear that.

It's wrong for Facebook to give these activists the power to throttle videos they don't like.

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NEXT: An Overdue Rebuke to Politicians Who Think Anything Goes in a Pandemic

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  1. But I never said that! In my video, I acknowledged: “Climate change has made things worse. California has warmed 3 degrees over 50 years.”

    Well, that depends on your definition of “worse”. The number of wildfires per year nosedived in 1983, and has been climbing ever since. However, it is still much less than years prior to 1983. The number of acres burned per year IS higher now. That’s not necessarily attributable to global warming.

    NIFC wildfire statistics by year

    1. The settlers that first got to California noted how it was burning.

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    2. It’s not really accurate to say the number of fires has been climbing since 1983.

      1983 and 1984 were EXTREMELY low (less than HALF of the next lowest year), they went back up in ’85 to 82,591 fires and bounced between 60k-90k per year until 2019 when it dropped into the 50k range.

      If my other comment ever posts, there are only FOUR years (I originally missed 2013) with fewer fires than 2019: 2013 with 47k fires, 1989 with 49k, 1984 with 20k, and 1983 with 18k.

      The number of acres has also dropped since the mid-1950s and has only grown relative to the ’60s to the mid ’80s (which was the absolute lowest on record).

    3. And the 30-50 million acres a year burned in the 1930s and 40s makes any changes from 1983 to today look like noise.

      1. Yes.

        The AVERAGE acreage burned since 1926: 12,062,963
        The acreage burned in 2019: 4,664,364 (about one third of the average)

        The AVERAGE number of fires since 1926: 124,500
        The number of fires in 2019: 50,477 (less than half of the average)

        The idea that climate change is making any of this worse is farcical. There’s an INVERSE correlation between the “trend” of global climate change and BOTH the acreage burned and the number of fires…

      2. Also, notice that the NIFC conveniently claims that data before 1983 (the absolute LOWEST year) cannot be sources, therefore, everything starts at and gets compared to the absolute bottom.

        When you graph the data though, there’s no reason to believe that the data from 1926-1983 is unreliable; the acreage graph shows a relatively nice curve downward to 1983, the number of fires shows a huge spike from 1976-1982, then a huge drop in 1983, but the rest shows a pretty linear downward trend.

        This is the wildfire version of the “hockey stick” graph. The data is bound SPECIFICALLY to suit the cause of claiming everything bad is cause be climate change…or Trump…or Trump causing climate change.

  2. The California fires are worsened by terrible forestry management. I don’t know if you could say they were ’caused by’ anything in particular. It’s an aggregation of factors.

    The scale and the property damage caused by the fires is more directly attributable to bad forest practices and a terrible development environment than ‘climate change’ though.

    1. I’m no expert, but I agree… I have REPEATEDLY read that, all across the West, “management” is lacking (clean word). Dirty words = “controlled burns”. Trump got this right in the recent debates, at least.

      BURNING QUESTION (pun implied, ha-ha) is, if the Feds own SOOOO much of the lands out there, WHY aren’t the feds doing more controlled burns? Casual Google search got me the below:

      “Trump ignored the fact that the federal government manages much of the forested land in the West. Of the 33 million acres of forest in California, roughly 57% is owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service or federal Bureau of Land Management, according to a report by the state’s Little Hoover Commission.”

      1. Who cares who owns the land. In Kalifornia, you can’t touch any part of nature without an Environmental Impact Statement and years of litigation with activists. Blaming the Fed for not managing the land doesn’t work in the reality of Newson’s Paradise.

        1. Private citizens and developers definitely have to jump through an insane number of hoops under the law and there are mechanisms which allow activists to weaponize all of that.

          I’m not sure the Federal Dept of Interior/Agriculture wouldn’t have the authority to over-rule State government authorities when it comes to dealing with federally managed lands, though. The Fed’s structure probably isn’t helping anything though since National Parks and BLM managed land are under Dept of Interior but USFS is under Dept of Agriculture. I’m not sure about BLM, but in Northern/Central CA the Forest Service seems to be either very under funded/staffed or incompetent (can’t rule out both) since they can’t seem to be bothered to publish the legally required “use maps” for their forests indicating any areas where activities like OHV driving and dispersed camping are and aren’t allowed, and new ranger station locations can take years to get added to the listings on the USFS web site.

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      2. Even though the feds own a lot of forest land environmentalists will take them to court over many issues over what the feds do with that land. It would not surprise me if controlled burning is one of those issues.

    2. “Controlled burns” PLUS harvesting some trees! Use or burn the scrap (twigs etc.) left after pulling the trees out. Or throw some dirt over your scrap-piles to speed the rotting process, and suppress fires. But we all know how much the eco-freaks will like THAT!

  3. And Big Tech wonders why so many people want to break them up or strip them of section 230. I personally believe both would be a mistake and counter-productive, but I am not a dictator, and these idiots are just pissing off their ultimate judges. Eventually a truly impartial competitor will spring up and eat their breakfast, lunch, and dinner — unless, of course, they have convinced the government to throw them in that briar patch of regulatory capture known as public utility.

    1. ABC gets it! Keep on kicking ass, ABC!!!

    2. An impartial competitor would be immediately denounced as a haven for Nazis and bigots. See Gab.

      Now, is Gab a haven for Nazis and bigots? Yes. But, that’s free speech. You take the good with the bad.

    3. Eventually a truly impartial competitor will spring up and eat their breakfast, lunch, and dinner […]

      Why would you think that?

      Brands in just about every industry have found it to their advantage to be partial. The few that have deliberately put their stake in the ground as “impartial” have been ideologically driven, not profit driven. And, as noted below, they tend to end up havens for racists, Nazis, and bigots, giving them an earned reputation that drives away most possible consumers/customers.

      “Impartiality” in business is not the natural state.

  4. Intentionally misquoting sounds like an easy libel case.

    I wonder what the fact checkers will say about this video? Is there a way to induce other fact checkers on the record calling Climate Feedback’s fact check false?

    1. Negative.

      The fact checkers are the arbiters of what is and what is not acceptable truth. If they don’t agree, it’s not true.

      It really is that simple.

  5. Someone needs to explain the mechanisms by which they can even blame forest fires on global warming. Like, I’m assuming there are people who have actual degrees who have made that case, and not loonies who are like “of course there’s more fires when things get more hot.”

    Is the assertion that climate change is reducing the amount of rainfall and making things more dry? I’m not sure that actually follows, since increased temperatures would increase ocean evaporation rate and potentially cause even more rainfall.

    I’m curious. I ran a search asking how climate change causes wildfires and found an NPR article title, “How Climage Change Is Fueling Hurricanes and Wildfires.” And her assertion is only “it makes it worse,” and she left of any explanation of how. And this was an interview of a supposed climate scientist and she didn’t explain it at all. I went through several sources, and just about the only thing I got was an explanation that there’s less snowfall during wet seasons, which is a type of “stored moisture” to last into the hot season.

    But…there’s no data on that. If you’re trying to make the assertion, at least tell me what the difference in snowfall is and how it’s changed over a 20 year period. At least try to back up your assertion.

    1. They have models. No you can’t view the code or the raw data. You wouldn’t understand it.

      1. Trump has had some models too! Maybe not the smartest ones, but surely among the best-looking!

        Where can I get some models; I want to look at their codes and data?!?! (In a totally impartial manner, of course).

      2. Science has spoken…

        All Hail Science!

        1. In my community the Climate Change sympathizers simply state that “Science is Real” and think that closes their case.

          Sadly, they’re right. When Al Gore said “the time for debate has ended” it wasn’t because the case had been made that humans are altering the climate in a harmful way. It was because he knew an actual debate would show what a sham the Green ($$$$$) Revolution actually was.

      3. You mean those models that made predictions of which ZERO materialized? I’m not sure anyone needs to view the code or raw data – since ALL (Every-single) conclusion proved false through time.

    2. “And her assertion is only “it makes it worse,” and she left of any explanation of how.”

      The perils of climate change are at this point an article of faith. The uncaused cause.

    3. And her assertion is only “it makes it worse,” and she left of any explanation of how. And this was an interview of a supposed climate scientist and she didn’t explain it at all.

      I’ve found that this is often because the climate scientist said something to the effect of “drought is a normal condition in California, and isn’t caused by climate change, but if you’re having a drought, and temperatures are higher than they otherwise would have been, then that will increase fire danger, somewhat” And that didn’t really serve the reporter’s purpose.

      I can’t tell you many shrieking articles I’ve read with headlines like “Climate Change Driven Drought Making Wildfires More Catastrophic!!!” only to find the actual quote from the actual climate scientist that is the basis of the article is pretty much exactly what I just wrote above – i.e. “climate change is causing neither the drought nor the fires., but might make either or both already-existing things slightly worse.”

      One of my favorites was from last year, which spoke of wildfires in the context of the “record-shattering summer heat,” only to go on in about the fourth or fifth paragraph to note that it had been an unusually mild summer.

      Probably the best/most coherent actually climate-related observation is that we had a no-shit multi-year drought recently (not the usual, perpetual “drought,” but an actual one) that left a lot of dry tinder in the forests ready to spark. The drought was followed by an inundation that filled the state with grass, which then dries and bakes from May through October, at which point it’s essentially gunpowder. Which again, isn’t climate change – it’s always been like this here.

      1. That was my understanding. In years following rainy years fire seasons are bad because there is lots of new brush and grass to burn.

      2. There was a fluke week in which there were 11,000 lightning strikes not accompanied by much rain. That’s what started miultiple fires and made this year so bad.

  6. John was accused of wrong speak. The verdict is always guilty.

    1. That’s the point: this is not about the science, it’s about political correctness. Climate change is bad, therefore any message that says climate change is not the cause of a problem is unacceptable. Guilt by reduction to absurdity, or something like that.

  7. This also makes my not being on any unsocial media look better and better.

    1. Yeah! Stick with us here, on this antisocial media website. 😉

      1. Well, the comments anyway.

  8. Well, *that’s* some flaming bullshit.

  9. They have “Fake But Accurate”. You have “Accurate But Fake”.

  10. They’re not about science. Science doesn’t censor. Cults censor.

    1. Yup. Science welcomes critical reviews.

      1. Science is supposed to welcome critical reviews. However, scientists are people with egos like everyone else, and some of them are pushing agendas. What ideally is supposed to happen, and what actually happens are not the same thing.

        1. This is true. The only people I’ve yet come across who want critical reviews are engineers, who have liability.

  11. Sounds like you think putting a warning on your videos has in some way defamed your character. I wonder if there’s a law about that sort of thing?

  12. John, can you afford a lawyer smart enough to make the claim that pretending outside sources with documented political agendas are “fair” fact checkers is false advertising?

    1. Seriously – especially given that they clearly didn’t do any “fact checking” at all, and the people listed as “reviewers” by their own admission had never seen the video, this seems to verge on fraud, even.

      1. That’s because it is fraud.

        The idea that a “fact check” can be done on a video the fact checkers did not watch is fraudulent as fuck. If not legally, then certainly intellectually.

        And to make it worse, sending an article for fact checking to an activist group is fucking mind boggling.

        You might as well send an article on the benefits of owning pets to PETA. It’s exactly the same thing.

  13. Welcome to the club of climate deniers. We’re filled with scientists, engineers, and others who made the mistake of saying “it’s not that bad”. The fact that circulation models rely on a significant increase in water vapor for the majority of their warming is irrelevant. They Saying that things are improving anywhere is heresy. Anything other than pumping the extreme worst case that isn’t supported by any evidence whatsoever is considered treasonous.

    You’re in good company, my friend.

    1. If it is any consolation Ben, just over a century ago, eugenics “deniers” were treated the same way that climate “deniers” are treated today. And we all know that the supposedly “proven science” of eugenics turned out to be an embarrassment for the scientific community, and for the Progressives, that neither likes to talk about any more. Well worth bearing that in mind when we hear talk about any “science” being “proven.”

    2. Even Michael Mann, inventor of the hockey-stick graph, posted on his Facebook page several years back that the American media was going to cause a backlash with all the dishonest hysteria-mongering. He was roundly ignored, of course.

      1. Shunning the media and ridiculing those who rely on it should be taught to all humans by the time they learn to speak.

        Those who use media irresponsibly should be relegated to the lowest caste, or banished to China.

  14. That article is chilling

  15. It’s no use complaining on Reason. Reason says the social media doesn’t censor conservative voices.

    1. unreason also says war=peace
      rioting=peaceful assembly
      Lefties=Republicans

      1. lets be fair, Reason has not said rioting is the same as peaceful assembly, but that the most peaceful protests intensified.

        1. mostly peaceful protests intensified

          edit button not found

  16. Don’t worry John.

    Silicon Valley siding with Democrats backfired. The US Senate, including Democrats, now finds that companies like Facebook and Google are monopolies and anti-trust laws should be used against them.

    I predict, FB, Twatter, and Google will stop censoring any more content that they disagree with based on politics in the next few weeks.

    1. That is more optimistic than I think is warranted. No matter what happens in the election, the Democrat’s pressure on Big Tech to suppress dissent and scepticism of Scientism’s extraordinary claims will increase.

      1. Lc1789 is full of what is very likely misplaced optimism. It’s like he just talks to himself and decides the world is the same.

        He’s often correct in his critiques, but his optimism for what’s actually happening in America is a massive blind spot.

        Google, Facebook, et al will not only continue using fact checkers in the wave of anti-trust actions against them, but they’ll double down on them in an effort to please almighty government.

  17. Way off base, Stossel. If you’ve got a complaint, it’s with Facebook, who applied things in your video to a generalized statement that has been said or implied elsewhere. In fact, our own idiot President blamed it all on forest management.

    Climate Feedback rightfully criticized that statement as misleading. And the two reviewers tried to tell you that…they didn’t review your video. If Facebook thinks you said that, contact Zuckerberg.

    Review of your above analysis of what happened….misleading.

    1. By the way, Stossel, a quick review of Climate Feedbacks page shows them citing “ misleading” on statements made by climate activists.

    2. In fact, our own idiot President blamed it all on forest management.

      And he was right.

      And the two reviewers tried to tell you that…they didn’t review your video.

      Then why did Climate Feedback claim that they had?

      1. Nope. He was wrong as usual. Even Stossel admits saying it was caused by just forest management is wrong.

        And no, Climate Feedback never initially said they reviewed the video. They reviewed a statement. Facebook labeled the video misleading and then linked the Climate Feedback page as to THEIR reason for the label. It was Facebook who married the two. Not Climate Feedback.

        So Stossel decides he’ll ask Climate Feedback, when in reality he should have asked Facebook. And the reviewers set him straight. So he makes a stink with them, and they say fine, we will review the video as well. End result? They think the entirety of the video is misleading as well.

        He asked for it.

        1. He was wrong as usual. Even Stossel admits saying it was caused by just forest management is wrong.

          No, he was right. I had a friend in the Forestry Service who was talking about this 25 years ago and what a catastrophe it was going to be in a couple of decades if management practices in publicly-held forests didn’t change.

          Stossel correctly surmised that he would be censored and potentially cancelled if he didn’t mention climate change or if he implied it isn’t really a factor, but no one seriously thinks climate change is anything like a primary cause of these fires. The science just doesn’t support it, and I know of no climate scientist who has ever claimed that it does.

          And sadly, even though Stossel attempted to speak the shibboleths, they just pretended he didn’t and condemned him anyway.

          And no, Climate Feedback never initially said they reviewed the video.

          “I tried to appeal. I emailed Nikki Forrester, Climate Feedback’s editor. She didn’t respond. But two of the three scientists listed as reviewers agreed to interviews.

          The first was Stefan Doerr of Swansea University.

          When I asked why he smeared me based on something I never said, he replied, “I’ve never commented on your article.”

          That was a shock. He hadn’t seen my video.

          I referred him to the Climate Feedback webpage that Facebook cited when labeling my video “misleading.” The page lists him as a “reviewer.”

          “If this is implying that we have reviewed the video,” said Doerr, “then this is clearly wrong. There’s something wrong with the system.””

          They reviewed a statement.

          A statement Stossel didn’t make:

          They post this complaint about my video: “Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change.” They call that claim “misleading.”

          It is misleading.

          But I never said that! In my video, I acknowledged: “Climate change has made things worse. California has warmed 3 degrees over 50 years.”

          He asked for it.

          It was perhaps naive to point out that a bunch of lying liars are lying and expect them not to lie in their defense.

          1. Ok, enough it’s your BS. Right. Stossel didn’t make the statement. CF never said he did. Facebook married that statement to the misleading label, not CF.

            CF listed the reviewers of that statement, not reviewers of the video. CF never initially reviewed his video. They only did so afterward because Stossel whined to them improperly. In fact, if you click the links on the reviews, they were initial reviews of Shellenberger, now applied to that generalized statement.

            The systemic failure isn’t CF’s. It Facebook’s. They matched a review for something else to Stossels video.

            Did you click the arrow? Of course not because it wouldn’t allow you to live by the illusions you wish to live by. It doesn’t link Stossels video. It links a Facebook posting by Elsie Morgan.

            But that’s it. No interest anymore from me on your lazy opinion. You get the last word.

      2. If you go to the Climate Feedback page Stossel linked, right after “9 Sept20,” there is an arrow to a Facebook page by Elsie Morgan, in which she says forest management is primarily to blame.

        1. she says forest management is primarily to blame.

          So she agrees with Trump that Newsom is wrong?

      3. By the way, Stossel refers to a “smear.” If anyone was smeared, it was Climate Feedback. By Stossel. He owes them an apology.

        1. He owes them an apology.

          No he doesn’t. He should sue them for defamation.

  18. John fails to mention that though Hausfather and Schellenberger both hail from the Breakthrough Institute , neither is a fire expert.

    He should have interviewed a real one like Steve Pyne before calling foul on being slapped for his own selective citation of expertise

    1. He should have interviewed a real one like Steve Pyne before calling foul on being slapped for his own selective citation of expertise

      Don’t use your selected expert, use mine!

      1. Steve is the author of Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books, 1997

        It’s still in print.

        Who, pray, is your go to Fire Guy?

        1. Who, pray, is your go to Fire Guy?

          Whichever one says what I want to hear, of course.

  19. A media personality getting hit with “phony fact-checking” is kind of funny, in a “hoisted by your own petard” sort of way.

    You’re being hit by the “solution” to a problem your industry helped create. If your industry had a better reputation, that solution wouldn’t be given so much weight. The only reason Facebook is trying to “fact check” at all is because folks like you are no longer trusted.

    1. The only reason Facebook is trying to “fact check” at all is because folks like you are no longer trusted.

      Which is why that “fact-checking” manifests in such a non-partisan way.

      1. And involves lying.

        1. Reason fact checkers don’t review John’s scripts?

          I am deeply shocked- the green lefties at The New Yorker had to put up with them for years.

          1. Reason fact checkers don’t review John’s scripts?

            Probably not. I certainly haven’t ever seen them lie about the content in order to declare it false.

  20. Whether or not climate change makes it worse seems pretty irrelevant. The tool available to mitigate the problem is better forest management. Climate change doesn’t just go away when everyone believes in it. With or without climate change, CA burns every year. The whole argument is a distraction from the actual point of Stossel’s piece.

    1. Good point. Curious how state and national forests in other parts of the country don’t burst out in wildfires every year like clockwork. Or maybe Climate Change agreed to pick and choose the states to affect the same way that the Coronavirus agreed not to infect people protesting against systematic racism.

      1. And see Rhombus of Terror’s comments above – wildfires in CA were much worse 100 years ago. There is only an upward tend if you start from the freakish low-point of 1983, which was a historically wet year.

    2. Whether or not climate change makes it worse seems pretty irrelevant. The tool available to mitigate the problem is better forest management. Climate change doesn’t just go away when everyone believes in it. With or without climate change, CA burns every year. The whole argument is a distraction from the actual point of Stossel’s piece.

      ^ This x 1,000

    3. “Climate change doesn’t just go away when everyone believes in it.”

      It is not so much that progressives want people to passively believe in climate change, but that they want people to believe that their very existence is **causing** climate change and natural disasters and, if people want the natural disasters to stop, they must surrender and cede all control over the economy to the smart people in government.

      For progressives, climate change orthodoxy is just a springboard that makes the leap toward totalitarianism all the more palatable to the average person.

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  22. “California has warmed 3 degrees over 50 years.”

    And where does a ridiculous premise like that come from?

    1. ~ 1 degree from climate forcing plus ~ 2 from the growth of man-made urban heat island effects in the nation’s largest urban sprawl

  23. A “fact-check” from Facebook carries weight.

    I personally would not trust a Facebook “fact-check” as far as I can throw a bull elephant. Almost none of the fact-checking today is free of political influence!

    1. Especially when the fact checkers are part of an activist organization devoted to their special ific narrative.

      It’s like using Stormfront to fact check an essay on the benefits of multiculturalism.

  24. People who ask tech platforms to regulate content for ‘truth’ simply don’t know what they’re asking. Bias invariably will creep in.

  25. the following link shows the west coast fires as seen by NASA imaging satellite photographs
    https://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/147000/147277/global_omp_2020253_lrg.jpg.
    They appear to show that Canada is not experiencing the same wildfire phenomena as the US

    1. They signed the Paris Accord, so global warming isn’t happening there.

  26. California may be on the cusp of an historic megadrought, but that’s nothing new! Indeed, the past century was not representative of typical water availability having actually been overly wet compared to the normal. The current drought may be nothing more than a reversion to the norm, exacerbated somewhat by climate change.

    But it’s funny how some headline writers cannot wrap their heads around science at all. E.g.

    Megadrought ‘Unprecedented in Human History’ Likely the New Normal Across the West

    But only if “human history” doesn’t go back more than 500 years…

    —-

    A team of scientists is researching megadroughts that have lasted as long as 40 years, using tree ring evidence going back 1,200 years.

    “If they go back in time 500 years or so, there were these phenomenal droughts — in terms of both severity and in terms of length,” Park Williams, the scientist leading the research, said. “And until recently, those droughts have always been spoken about with almost a mythical-type character.”

    Using the tree-ring data, Williams and his team detected dozens of droughts across the region, starting in 800 AD. Four of those stand out as megadroughts — with extreme dryness which lasted for decades — in the late 800s, mid-1100s, the 1200s and the late 1500s.

    The team then compared the ancient megadroughts to soil moisture records from the years 2000 to 2018. As illustrated in the below image, they found that this 19-year period was the second-driest, already outdoing the three earliest ones and on par with the fourth period which spanned from 1575 to 1603. The other megadroughts lasted longer, which is why their red shading is wider, but they all began on a similar path to this modern drought.

    Another interesting finding in the research: The 20th century was the wettest century in the entire 1,200-year record. So the conditions we may think of as “normal” were actually a historical fluke. “The 20th century gave us an overly optimistic view of how much water is potentially available,” said co-author Benjamin Cook.

  27. There’s no way Facebook can police everything. The site carries billions of posts…I wish they’d just let the information flow. People will gradually learn to sort truth from lies.

    They can’t let ‘information flow’. Their business model requires that their actual customers (advertisers) not be offended by the eyeballs that just waste time there. And those eyeballs will not ‘learn to sort truth from lies’.

    Facebook and all of web2.0 went down a destructive path when they and their VC funders decided to control the flow of information on the Internet via their portals and platforms. It was a financially driven clusterfuck and will remain so until Silicon Valley is destroyed by underwater stock options so that techies can stop whoring themselves out to the whole ‘free eyeballs’ shit.

  28. Michael Schellenbergers book is actually called, “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All”.

  29. Doesn’t Fakebook enjoy Section 230 protection so they shouldn’t be censoring anything they want?

    1. Didn’t they also oppose the rollback of “Net Neutrality” because of the supposed danger that could arise when a handful of “big corporations” were put in control over what sorts of information people could and couldn’t have access to?

  30. Seems like the Scientists involved would have been more upset about having their names cited in specific cases where they hadn’t been involved.

  31. Social media companies need to be subjected to higher standards of transparency for how they decide which content to promote and which content to flag. If its this hard to find out what got you flagged, then people won’t respect the rules.

  32. This is one reason why I want antitrust investigators breathing down FAANG’s neck. If Reason or Mother Jones endorses a political position, that’s fine. They are both de facto and de jure private actors. If a de facto but not currently de jure public forum like YouTube or Twitter chooses sides, that’s a problem. Their idea of diversity is asking people from San Francisco AND Mountain View what they think.

    1. I want antitrust investigators laid off. They have no place in a free society.

  33. Wired had a good article on why forest fires are worse now. It’s the accumulation of small and large fuel, not climate change (although they close with the standard warning that climate change will make the problem worse).

    https://www.wired.com/story/west-coast-california-wildfire-infernos/

  34. …and IMHO; The #1 Reason Facebook now has activist “Phony-Facts-Checkers” is the recent Government jaws snapping at them.

    GET THE GOV AWAY FROM THE PRESS!

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